The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sachin to sell cell

New Delhi, Oct. 6: The nation’s biggest cricketing name will bat for the country’s largest mobile operator.

Sachin Tendulkar will open his innings with AirTel in an advertisement campaign to be telecast during the Australia-New Zealand-India tri-nation one-day series later this month.

The shooting for the commercial has begun in Mumbai and the first clips will be telecast during the first encounter between Australia and India.

Sources estimated the contract amount to be between Rs 3.5 and Rs 5 crore. The highest ever paid by AirTel to its brand ambassadors till now was the Rs 2.5 crore it offered Shah Rukh Khan. The cellular operator, owned by the Bharti Group, also renewed its contracts with Shah Rukh and A.R. Rahman.

“We got the final nod from Sachin in the last week of September. The deal has been signed and the shooting of the film has started.... We have also renewed our contracts with Shah Rukh Khan and A.R. Rahman,” a source in AirTel said.

“The aim is to make the AirTel brand stronger and expand the reach. We will first launch a big brand campaign without any stars that will reflect the new thought and idea behind the repositioning of the brand. Later, by October-end, Sachin will feature in the new advertisement,” the source added.

The deal was brokered by the celebrity management company Showdiff. Cricketer-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri owns 50 per cent stakes in the company.

The campaign, which starts tomorrow, will be in black and white and focus on bringing out human emotions. It will be silent but for the faint music in the background.

Sources said the company was “also planning to rope in” a few Australian and New Zealand cricketers. “It will be a cricket-based campaign,” said a source.

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